woman smiling

The Prettiest No-Makeup Makeup

In partnership with our friends at Hourglass

Whether your vibe at the office tends toward sleekly tailored pants and a blazer or you lean more toward jumpsuits and freewheeling patterns, clean-looking, subtly flattering makeup always works. Small flourishes—beautifully filled-in brows, a flick of inky mascara, a dash of luminizing setting powder—light up and define your face in a much more natural way than does a more full-on application.

We love this polished, understated look for the minimal effort (and skill) it requires and for its crisp professionalism. The formula—six steps in total, but feel free to cherry-pick—centers around clean, beautifully defined brows, glowy skin, and a natural pop of color where it counts. It should go on in (way) under five minutes and leave you fresh-faced and pulled-together for the entire day.

  1. 1

    Brow Pencil

    Any makeup artist will vouch for the fact that shaping and sometimes tinting or adding volume to your brows has the power to energize your entire face. This pencil is brilliantly slim with a flat tip that’s perfect for creating small, thin brushstrokes to fill in gaps. (Thicker pencils tend to create bolder, harsh lines that look less natural.) Whether you’re overplucked or just want to spruce up your current shape, it leaves your brows lustrous, defined, and naturally stunning. To find your most flattering shade, choose one that’s a touch lighter than your natural hair color. Resist the urge to go darker, which can look jarring against your complexion.

    Hourglass Brow Micro Sculpting Pencil

    goop, $28

    hourglass brow micro sculpting pencil
  2. 2

    Mascara for

    Long, fluttery, shiny lashes leave you looking instantly more awake. One or two coats of mascara makes your eyes look brighter and bigger, and this formula from Beautycounter goes on smoothly—and stays on.

    Beautycounter Lengthening Mascara

    goop, $29

    Beautycounter Lengthening mascara
  3. 3

    Concealer Stick

    The best way to use foundation is sparingly: Cover only problem areas, rather than your whole face. This creamy formula miraculously works as both foundation and concealer, leaves skin impossibly radiant, and comes in a fantastically portable stick.

    Westman Atelier Vital Skin
    Foundation Stick

    goop, $68

    Westman Atelier Vital Skin Foundation Stick
  4. 4

    Setting Powder
    for a Flawlessly
    Natural Finish

    Even people who don’t normally go for setting powder fall in love with this one that brightens as it softly mattifies. Dust it over bare skin—it feels impossibly silky—or over makeup to help leave skin looking healthy and radiant.

    Hourglass Veil Translucent
    Setting Powder

    goop, $46

  5. 5

    Color for Lips
    and Cheeks

    Smooth creamy pigment onto both cheeks and lips for subtle, glowy color and an instantly pulled-together look. Dab at the apples of the cheeks and/or over lips and blend with your fingers—it takes all of thirty seconds and is remarkably transformative. The invigorated flush you get is sexy, fresh, and flattering no matter what your skin type.

    Balmyard Beauty Baby Love Balm
    Lip + Cheek Tint in Black Roses

    goop, $32

    Kosas Weightless Lip Color
    in Rosewater

    goop, $28

    Sheer Blackberry Stain

    Balmyard Beauty Baby Love Balm Lip + Cheek Tint in Black Roses

    Creamy, You-but-Better Lipstick

    Kosas Weightless Lip Color in Rosewater
  6. 6

    A Touch of Gloss

    Part nourishing lip treatment, part finishing touch, this rich oil blend softens and smooths lips as it adds a sexy, glossy sheen. It’s beautifully moisturizing and works no matter what your skin type (or what lip color you happen to be wearing).

    Hourglass No. 28 Lip Treatment Oil in Clear

    goop, $49

    Hourglass No 28 Lip Treatment Oil in Clear